Monthly Archives: February 2014

Ruth Jackson new USAWA Official

by Al Myers

Congrats to Ruth Jackson for becoming the latest new USAWA Official.  RJ was the first one to undergo the more strenuous requirements to become an official.   A couple of years ago the USAWA began requiring practical training after passing the written rules test in order to become a certified official. Ruth just completed her practical training at the USAWA Grip Championships/Dino Gym Record Day earlier this month.  She is now listed on the Official’s List, and will receive a 3 year officials card.

Big T’s OTSM

by Thom Van Vleck


This May I turn 50 years old.  My wife asked me what I wanted to do.  Well, I love to throw, lift, and eat with family and friends.  So I will be hosting a Scottish Highland Games at my gym near Greentop, Missouri as well as an USAWA OTSM meet!  You may enter both if you like.  There will be burgers and brats grilled for lunch.  The Highland Games will begin at 10:00am while the OTSM will follow immediately after around 3 pm.  Weigh ins will start at 9:00am or immediately before the lifting starts.  There will be miniature anvils for awards.  One difference with this meet is that there will be two champions.  One will be decided using formulas while the other will be declared on most weight lifted.


DATE: May 31, 2014

LOCATION: JWC Training Hall, 23958 Morgan Road, Greentop, MO, 63546

A special Iron Man award will be given to the combined thrower and lifter.

Following the throwing and lifting, weather permitting, there will be a bonfire and evening festivities.

Three lifts will be contested.  Two are tried and true OTSM lifts while the third is a brand new lift that will be tried out for the first time.

The Cyr Press

Any dumbbell with a handle diameter between 1 inch and 1.5 inches is allowed. The dumbbell may be brought to the shoulder in any manner, but must come to the shoulder before going overhead. This includes using two hands. Once at the shoulder, the dumbbell is taken overhead with only one hand anyhow. The other arm/hand is not allowed to touch the lifting arm during the overhead portion. The feet are allowed to move. If the lifter misses with one arm, the dumbbell may be switched to the other arm during the attempt, but the arm used must be selected at the shoulder. A time limit of 1 minute is allowed for the attempt. The dumbbell may be set down or dropped during the attempt. If the overhead portion of the lift is missed, it may be restarted at the shoulder. Once the dumbbell is overhead motionless with arm straight, the legs straight and feet in line with the torso, an official will give a command to end the lift.

Dumbbell to the Shoulder

A dumbbell will be taken from the floor to the shoulder using any method the lifter wants to employ. The dumbbell may be lifted with two hands, continental style, or may be rested on the belt during the lift by any part of the dumbbell. Hands may grip the plates, bar, collars, or any part of the dumbbell. Any size plate may be loaded onto the dumbbell. The lift is completed when the lifter is standing upright, with the dumbbell resting on the shoulder, and the lifter demonstrating control. Both hands may remain on the dumbbell to complete the lift, or with one hand or both hands off the dumbbell. A time limit of 1 minute is given to complete the lift. An official will give a command to end the lift.

Thor’s Hammer (NEW LIFT!)

A 2″ vertical bar that conforms to the rules for the 2″ vertical bar lifts (2″ in diameter and no more than 18″ long with no knurling) will be used. Just as with a vertical bar lift, the bar may be gripped by any grip with only one hand near the top of the vertical bar. In addition, the hand must not be touching any weights or collars used to secure the weights.  The lift will begin at the lifter’s discretion. There will be a one minute time limit to complete the lift. Once the lifter chooses to use the left or right hand, the other hand will not come in contact with the weight.  If the lifter misses an attempt they may switch hands but only with the weight resting on the lifting area.  The lift must be one continuous motion from the floor to a locked out position with no press out.  The lifter may choose to snatch or swing the weight.    The forearm must not touch the weight at any time.  The lifter may move the feet and body to adjust to the lift like a snatch lift.  The lift is considered complete when the lifter is in an upright position with the knees and elbow locked, feet in line with the torso with the weight under control.  At which time the official will give the command to end the lift.

National Championships

by Al Myers


Tim Piper (left), meet promoter of the 2014 USAWA National Championships, and Al Myers (right) at last years meet at the Salvation Army Gym.

The date has been set – June 21st – so mark this day off your calendar and make plans to attend the USAWA Nationals in Macomb, Illinois. Tim Piper, of the Salvation Army Gym, will be this years host and meet director.  Macomb is the perfect location for our National Championships since it is located in the center of USAWA activity.  It’s within driving range for practically everyone.

Tim has planned a one day meet with 6 lifts. The lifts chosen are very traditional all round lifts, and lifts most everyone should like.  Tim is a very seasoned meet promoter and I know he will have everything planned and organized well for a great day of lifting for everyone.


Snatch – One Arm (Barbell)
Clean and Push Press
Jefferson Lift – Fulton Bar
Curl – Cheat
Zercher Lift

ENTRY FORM – USAWA 2014 Nationals-Macomb IL

OCPD: Weightlifting Sub-type

by Thom Van Vleck

Most, but not all, of my Scottish Hammers....I don't see a problem with having 20 plus hammers....that's normal, right?

Recently the DSM 5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual) was released.  It has the criteria for diagnosing mental health disorders.   I end up referring to it a great deal as part of my job as a Licensed Professional Counselor.   The DSM 5 is actually the 7th revision which plays into the fact that there are lots of arguements about what is in it because Mental Health is not as an exact science as we would like.  It relies heavily on the observation and self report of a client and not so much on hard science.  Someday it will, but not now.

The big argument that comes up every time they revise this thing is what is mentally ill and what is not.  Many factors play into this.  Some are pretty legit, some are very politically and culturally driven, and some may be related to special interests such as pharmaceutical companies and mental health facilities that stand to make a profit.  I’m not cynical, just realistic.

So with that in mind I decided to come up with my own disorder.  Obsessive Compulsive: Weightlifting Sub-type.  Now right now I need to clarify something.  Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is different  than Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder (OCPD).  Many get these confused.  OCD is an anxiety disorder characterized by intrusive thoughts that produce anxiety.  The individual then seeks to reduce the anxiety producing thoughts by developing a preoccupation with some obsessive/compulsive behavior.  OCPD is a personality disorder and is characterized by a preoccupation with perfectionism and orderliness.  This can be with the things around them or the people around them.  The funny thing about OCPD is that the person afflicted with it often sees it as a huge plus and a reason for their success….and fail to see how destructive it is to those around them.

So, my OCPD Weightlifting sub-type (and if you haven’t figured out this is mostly tongue in cheek…..and a little not) is geared towards those whose preoccupation with the iron has become a chronic, non-adaptive pattern.  Their drive to achieve perfection in training, diet, and all aspects of life that will lead to that holy grail of being the best they can be has led to them becoming asocial, impossible to deal with, and actually leads to the opposite of what they want to achieve.  Some of the sub-types include narcissism, passive aggressive, paranoid, antisocial, and histrionic (look that one up…it’s interesting).

Now, I said this was tongue in cheek and it mostly is.  There is no way this will ever be a real diagnosis.  But I will tell you that I think weightlifters are a “special breed” (that means “crazy” and “nuts” to the average person).  We see what we do as good and we often reinforce each other especially when one of those “average” persons points out our insanity.  However, we also can box ourselves in with our obsession to the point where we think what we are doing is working and effective when it’s really not.  That’s what OCPD: Weightlifting Sub-type really is.  I know I’ve had bouts with it.  The very nature of the obsessiveness needed to be successful in weightlifting works against you from time to time.

So what do you do?  You need to take a step back every once in awhile and take a look at yourself, what you do, have you convinced yourself what you are doing is working or is it REALLY WORKING.  Take a look at those around you.  Are the blind leading the blind?  Sometimes if you are getting angry because someone contradicts your beliefs that may be a good sign you actually are OCPD:WS.  A good lifter is always open to new ideas.  If you are surrounded by people who agree with you all the time….you better watch out!  That means you are all OCPD:WS! Finally,  take a hard look at what you do.  I was once told by an employer if he asked me why we do something a certain way and my answer was “Because that’s how we’ve always done it” he would fire me on the spot.  I made a joke recently that if I ate hot dogs before ever squat workout I could easily surmise hot dogs were the secret if things went well.  Never assume, always experiment and you will stay away from the chronic, non-adaptive pattern that characterizes OCPD:WS!

So, do you have OCPD: WS….well….do ya?

Texas Power Bar

by Al Myers

Three different Texas Power Bars in the Dino Gym: 1. Mac TPB (bottom), 2. 10 year old Capps TPB (middle), and 3. New Capps TPB (top).

The Texas Power Bar has become synonymous with THE STANDARD of powerlifting bars over the past 25 years. This bar was initially marketed in the early 80’s and has been used by many powerlifters thru the years, both in training and in competition.  It is a general PL bar – meaning that it is a good bar to be used for all the powerlifts.  It is fairly rigid, has good aggressive knurling, and holds up to “hardcore”  use.  The name “Texas Power Bar” has name value to anyone who has been involved with powerlifting, and most all lifters associate the Texas Power Bar with quality.

I bought my first Texas Power Bar in the early 80’s from Mac Barbell Equipment. At that time, the main advertising for lifting was through the PL magazine, Powerlifting USA.  You could count on there being an advertisement for the Texas Power Bar in every issue.  One of the company’s selling pitches was this comment in their ads, “The Mac Texas Power Bar has been used in more World and National Championships than all other brands combined. Make sure you don’t get a cheap imitation or counterfeit”. Mac Barbell was located in Grand Prairie, TX, thus the reason for the name being called the Texas Power Bar.

The end cap of a TPB which contains the official logo of the Texas Power Bar.

Now a little history lesson.  This bar is the “brainchild” of Buddy Capps. He has, for over 30 years, owned and operated Capps Welding and has been in the weight lifting bar manufacturing business this entire time. His business is located in Irving, Texas. Buddy Capps was a former Texas State Powerlifting Champ, so he knows something about the needs of powerlifters. The TPB (Texas Power Bar) was influenced in design by a couple of other very good powerlifters, Doug and Clay Patterson. However, Mac owned “the rights” to the TPB, and shortly afterwards Capps and Mac Equipment had a “falling out”.   Capps then did a redesign of the TPB, and started making his newer (and improved) version.  Since then, he deals through distributers for resale. Mac Equipment has now been out of business for several years, so the earlier “Mac Texas Power Bar” is no longer being produced.  The only TRUE Texas Power Bar on the market is the Capps TPB.  I say this because I have seen other advertised Texas Power Bars on the market  that are not made by Capps, and are imposters.  Every Texas Power Bar contains a sticker logo on the end of the bar indicating it as the OFFICIAL Texas Bar.  Bill Ennis, of Weightlifters Warehouse, told me that the steel used by Capps in the Texas Power Bars is American high-quality steel, and has always been that way.  I have owned several Capps TPB’s and from my lifting experience on them, I agree with this.  The steel seems the same to me in the new TPB’s as the ones I got over 20 years ago. I’ve had only one Capps TPB bend on me, and that was because is was being used inappropriately and not the fault of the bar.   Capps believes in producing high-quality bars and this can only be achieved by using “top of the line” steel.

The bar specs on a few of my Texas Power Bars are:

BAR Length Shaft Diameter Center Knurling Center Spacing Width Inside Collar Collar Width
Mac TPB 7-‘2″ 1- 1/8″ Yes-6″ 16-1/2″ 52-1/8″ 1-1/2″
Capps TPB (10 years old) 7′-1 3/4″ 1-1/8″ Yes-4″ 17″ 51-3/4″ 2″
Capps TPB (NEW) 7′-1 3/4″ 1-1/8″ Yes-4″ 17″ 52″ 2″

My Mac Texas Power Bar is still in good condition even though I have had it and been using it for over 25 years.  It still has a very aggressive knurling that hinders most from wanting to use it. The newer TPB’s have less aggressive knurling, but still I would consider as aggressive in terms of depth of knurling cut. The newer TPB’s are coated in Black Oxide and have a nice finish.  The sleeves rotate very well for power bars, but not well enough to be used as Olympic Lifting bars if you are an experienced Olympic lifter.  The are plenty “stiff”, which make them great bench and squat bars and general purpose training bars.

I believe Texas Power Bars are very consistent in quality (at least the ones I’ve lifted on – and that’s been many).   They have several of Capps distinguishing features – wide 2″ collars, aggressive knurling cut pattern, and the use of two roller pins to secure the sleeve. The end cap is recessed as well.   His bars have a look unlike all others.  If you are looking for a good bar that will last for a long time – I highly recommend Texas Power Bars.

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